Thursday, August 12, 2010



Packing for a trip always causes me a bit of anxiety, does it you?  All those final decisions.

I generally pack just a carry-on for most of my stateside travel but never for a 17 day European trip.  Urged by my friends Alicia, Darcey, and Stephen, I joined the "packing light for Europe" club and loved it.

In anticipation for my trip to Belgium and England (lots and lots of trains) I'd kept meticulous packing notes of recent trips working to pare down my "needs list"or at least substitute with lighter weight items.  And I planned on bringing clothing that was easily hand-washed.

I also bought a slightly lighter weight carry-on bag, the amazing 22 inch Eagle Creek Hovercraft 2 (Suitcases and More in Scottsdale will match any online price!), weighing only 7.5 pounds along with a more substantial boarding tote instead of carrying one of my large pretty handbags. The boarding tote gave me lots more space than a large purse.

As the time approached to begin packing I did a mock-packing to relieve myself of doubts.  No problem.  I can do this.

Then 4 days later as I packed for real problems cropped up.  What?  It all worked 4 days ago!  But I could hardly zip my bag.  So I pulled out a sweater and went to bed.

The night before a big trip is never restful (at least for me).  My mind is racing with thoughts of what I'm not bringing, what I have packed, what I could do without. I awakened early the morning of the trip and went to the gym.  I saw Alicia and chatted with her about her packing list.  Alicia is the Grande Dame of packing light.  She is a minimalist in most everything in her life.  I am not.  For clothes, she brings 1 pair casual pants, 1 pair dressy pants, 1 skirt, 4 tops, a thin coat, scarf, sweater, pjs.  That's it for clothes no matter how long she is traveling.

So I went home and removed a pair of pants, scarf, and wrap from my bag and felt better. Suitcase zipped up without tugging.

Longchamps Le Pliage Bags

Here's my clothing packing list (including what I wore)

3 pairs cropped pants (one too many)
1 pair dressy pants
1 skirt
5 tops
Pajamas and robe
Lightweight jacket
Thin raincoat
1 wrap, 1 scarf
2 pairs of shoes (sport sandals and dressier sandals)

24 inch bag and tote - 2007

I rely on my lightweight and well-made Longchamps Le Pliage bags (see pic above).  The blue and green bag (above) is folded and tucked in my suitcase to be filled later with all those fun travel purchases.  The smaller chocolate brown bag is used as my purse once I'm off the plane.  These bags are very sturdy and light on the shoulder.  I've either purchased these bags in Paris (cheaper since they are made in France) or online at during a sale.

And since I do buy lovely things when I travel, I packed all my goodies in the Longchamps bag and on my return flight checked the 22inch bag and carried on my boarding tote with my purchases. 
I absolutely loved traveling this way.  My friend, Leslie, and I were on so many different trains so the easier we could make it on ourselves the better.  It's not as if there is a porter at every stop just waiting to lend a hand with luggage.

As you can see from the pics, my baggage is getting smaller (and lighter) each year I travel. In fact, my 22 inch bag fully packed was 13 pounds lighter than previous bags bound for Europe.  Hooray!


  1. That's awesome. I did a dry run pack for our 18-day trip to Thailand and Cambodia back in January. Since we were taking so many flights we decided to only take carry-on for the whole trip. Worked out well, but since it was a warm climate for the whole trip we got off pretty easy packing summer clothes. And of course we had laundry done along the way. Now that I think about it, yours is much more of an accomplishment...

  2. I'm impressed. That takes a lot of self discipline. You should write a book on do's and don'ts of traveling and packing.

  3. Dad would have been very impressed! I think you should list what dad took. It seems to me that he didn't take much when he went with you:)

  4. You should write a book. I love your style. :-)